Aiken Tea Party endorses Haley for governor

GOP gubernatorial candidate gains steam
Candidate Nikki Haley speaks with Patrick Boardman (left), former Aiken Republican Party president, and Aiken City Council members Steve Homoki and Dick Dewar.

AIKEN --- South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley earned the endorsement of the Aiken County Tea Party during a campaign stop Sunday.

More than 100 people gathered at the Gem Lakes subdivision for a picnic-style stumping event that gave voters more one-on-one time with Haley than her previous visits to the area.

High-profile endorsements from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford have raised the Lexington Republican House member's celebrity since her last stop in Aiken two weeks ago, when she appeared in a gubernatorial debate with her GOP rivals -- Attorney General Henry McMaster, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett and Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

She also vaulted to first place among the Republican candidates in a Rasmussen Reports poll last week.

Ginger Keenan said she loved the spirit of Haley's message. And as a working mother herself, Keenan said she applauded Haley for stepping up to challenge the "good old boys."

"She comes from a hard-working family, and she's not been at the Statehouse so long that she's 'status quo,' " Keenan said.

Haley told voters her top three challenges would be restructuring the tax base, education system and government operations, but she said she needed to work more consistently with legislators than Gov. Mark Sanford has to push through meaningful legislation.

"Sanford was reactionary," she said.

"The legislators need a governor that's predictable and consistent."

The primary is scheduled June 8.

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